Quick Guide: Shoghi, Himachal Pradesh

Quick Guide: Shoghi, Himachal Pradesh
Photo Credit: Gireesh G.v

For those looking for a relaxed weekend getaway with absolutely nothing to do but plunge into the lap of nature, Shoghi, an unfrequented paradise in Himachal is the perfect place to be

Our Team
May 04 , 2015
04 Min Read

Fast facts
State: Himachal Pradesh
Location: Shoghi is a sleepy town 5,873 ft above sea level, 14 km south of Shimla
Distance: 328 km N of Delhi 
When to go: All year round, but best in summer
Tourist Office: HPTDC, 36, Chandralok Building, Janpath, New Delhi
Tel: 011-23325320/ 4764
STD code: 0177

Getting there
Air: Nearest airport: Jubbarhatti, Shimla (37 km/1 hr); currently not operational
Rail: Nearest railhead: Kalka (75 km/ 2.5 hrs) 
Road: Route from Delhi NH1 to Ambala via Karnal; NH22 to Shoghi via Zirakpur, Panchkula, Kalka and Kandaghat


If you’re one of those travellers engaged in a constant search for that elusive, secluded spot of paradise in Himachal’s hills, your quest will end at Shoghi. Once you get to the top of this hill, you can relax and revel in the knowledge that you are experiencing a small piece of heaven. The town of Shoghi is, at most, a 2-km stretch of road whose highlights are its natural beauty, it people and their hospitality.

Things to see and do
Shoghi is much more than just a cheap alternative to Shimla – it is an ideal place to get away from it all. Learn to paint with watercolours; bring your camera; read new books; take up bird watching; listen to the sounds of the forest. There are ample trekking grounds and clear streams that gush over beautiful coloured stones.

Tara Devi Temple
One of the significant temples of the area, the Tara Devi Temple is about 11 km south of Shimla but stands higher at 6,073 ft. As you drive through Shoghi (headed due north on NH22), the turn-off for Tara Devi is on the right, at the end of the town. The ascent is simultaneously breathtaking and nerve-racking.

Various histories date the temple as either 200 or 500 years old. The story goes that a vision of Tara Devi appeared to the Raja of Junga on the mountain and he immediately built a temple on that spot. The upkeep of the temple is a personal project of one of the ranis. In the two main festival months, October and November, the temple is overcrowded; at all other times it makes for a peaceful visit.

Photography is not permitted inside the main temple, but shooting from the temple grounds is not only allowed but encouraged – the 360 degree views from the top are very rewarding. 

Local Temples
The landscape around Shoghi is dotted with temples. Virtually every village in the region has one, each as exquisite as the next. However, two temples stand out ­­– little gems that represent the best of local architecture and aesthetics. About 6 km southwest of Shoghi, nestling in a valley of green trees and fields, is the small village of Anji. The renovated Hanumana Temple here stands right on the edge of the village. Look out for the beautiful wall paintings of mythological scenes.

Continue on from Anji to Kadaur (3 km west) to the Kali Temple. Situated atop a velvet-carpet knoll of green grass judiciously manicured by the local bovine population, the temple has two manifestations of Kali. It’s also a great spot for a picnic.

Where to stay and eat
Aamod Resort (Tel 0177-6532022, Cell 07696203240; Tariff INR 8,000-17,000; www.aamod.in) is located on a forested slope in Shoghi, 200 m ahead of Sholaghat village. It has cottages with spacious balconies and all mod cons, spread out over a ridge. Aamod has an excellent bunch of adventure professionals who organize activities including rock climbing and mountain biking. The top pick, though, are the nature trails that dot the ridges, connecting villages and temples. Most of these follow forest paths over the surrounding ridges, and they make for great walks.

Park Woods Forest Retreat (Cell: 09816065683; Tariff: INR 4,900-7,200, with meals; www.park-woods.com). Located approximately 3 km south of Shoghi town, Park Woods covers 20 acres of wooded area along a mountain ridge. Accommodation is in comfortable bamboo huts or tents. There are swings and hammocks scattered across the grounds, pretty gardens and pathways, breakfast in the machan hut, bonfires at night and dewy mist in the mornings. The retreat also offers a variety of activities, from trekking to horse riding.

For a quiet, homey place, head for Sunrise Villa (Tel: 0177-3290075; Tariff: INR 2,000-4,000; www.sunrisevilla.in). Romesh Aggarwal and his wife offer the ambience of a private home at reason-able rates, on the road to the Tara Devi Temple. Choose from rooms with or without a balcony – all tastefully decorated and well-maintained, with astounding views.

As you drive into Shoghi from the southern end, you’ll find Hotel Good Luck (Tel: 2860164/ 764; Tariff: INR 1,500-2,500; www.hotelgoodluck.in) on the left, which is a pleasant establishment. They have an on-site restaurant serving Punjabi and Himachali cuisine.

Less than one kilometre away is Sharma Prem’s Dhaba. It offers rooms at its guesthouse Highway Home (Tel: 2860235; Tariff: INR 600 upwards), and good vegetarian food.

Do try some of Minchy’s Fruit Products – locally produced pickles, jellies, syrups and juices. The sales outlet is at the junction of the main road (NH22) and the road leading up to the Tara Devi Temple.

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